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1.1 Background to the Study
Social studies represent an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human beings in groups of interrelationships within both their social and physical environments. Social studies education is an instrument for preparing and mobilizing learners in schools for the purpose of enabling them cultivate an awareness and understanding that would transform them into citizens that can contribute positively to economic, social, political and cultural development of their societies. The objective of social studies teaching in Nigerian schools emphasizes students’ familiarity with their physical and social environments; improved social relationships and intentions, skills and abilities to think reflectively, critically, creatively and independently all of which are relevant to problem solving (Iyamu and Otete, 2006).
Social studies education is increasingly vital in helping to create individuals who are active and dynamic participants in our society. This view of social studies raises the problem of the organization of its interrelated components and how to make students become conscious of the underlying forces that make up its elements. There is, therefore, the need to select appropriate instructional strategies that will facilitate all round development in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of the students. It is obvious that no single method of learning can adequately fit all learning situations and there is no best method of teaching social studies but a combination of the methods would definitely help in achieving the desired instructional objectives. Using various teaching techniques is considered by many a best practice, and numerous studies
conclude positive results with regard to the use of various instructional methods to teach social studies. The NCE Minimum Standards for Teachers (2009, p. 86) states that: “various methodological approaches should be adopted in teaching social studies with special emphasis on inquiry and field trip”. The National Teachers' Institute (NTI) Manual for the retraining of social studies teachers (2009, p. 4) also states that: “there is no single strategy which can be applied in the teaching of concepts and principles of social studies. Hence the use of multiple strategies in the teaching of particular concepts and principles should be adopted”.
Some methods of teaching social studies include lecture, study tours, problem solving method, team teaching, inquiry, dramatization, project, questions and answers, discussion, home assignment, construction method, discovery method, mapping, story-telling, role play etc. However, it is the teacher who selects the strategy according to the needs of the students.
Giving the high premium placed on social studies in teacher education curriculum, the need to teach it using the most effective methods cannot be overemphasized. Universities, colleges and other institutions are beginning to show an increased awareness of the importance of the ways students learn. Many of the standard methods of conveying knowledge have been shown to be relatively ineffective on the students' ability to master and retain important concepts. Okam (2001) criticized a classroom or a pedagogical trend in social studies which emphasizes achievements and acquisition of objectives established in the cognitive domain while attainments that impinge on the affective and psychomotor domains are either seriously neglected or relegated to the background.
Ololobou (2009) also reported the seriousness of deplorable performance of students in social studies and identified persistent use of the traditional mode of instruction as one of the major short-coming affecting the learning and higher achievement in social studies.
Social studies education seeks solutions to societal problems and hence needs to be taught with solution finding methods like inquiry, problem solving, brainstorming and expository methods, but our present day lecturers at tertiary institutions adopt the traditional/conventional (lecture and note taking) in teaching and learning of the course. The methods identified are not suitable for effective teaching and learning of social studies and for this, Ebenene (2006) warned that social studies lecturers should move away from traditional teaching styles to creative (experiential) teaching styles which will make students move from traditional learning goals of subject assimilation to becoming critical and creative individuals. In the same vein, Yaroson as cited in Onuoha and Okam (2011) demonstrated that in spite of the popularity of social studies in Nigerian schools, the following curriculum processes and practices which are in-built into instructions in the subject area have been relegated to the background in many classrooms, namely: methodology of inquiry, employment of decision-making devices and principles including the use of critical thinking and problem-solving procedures. Thus Ogundare and Madubuike in Olukayode (2012) confirmed that few teachers (generally less than 20%) employed investigative oriented procedures and approaches in their instructional strategies in teaching social studies. Okam (2001) opined that social studies educators must accept their responsibility for involving learners in classroom activities if they are to achieve learning and behavioral objectives designated as being relevant to the acquisition of citizenship norms. Social studies educators have to aim at relevant utilization of a
combination of some of the methods in teaching-learning situations, namely; enquiry methods, role playing, problem solving, group discussion, project methods, simulation techniques and even lecture methods (Okam, 2011). They must willingly accept that the application of some of the methods requires the collaboration and cooperative efforts of some of their fellow educators and other experts in order to bring about desired objectives. Against this background, this research work attempts to investigate the effects of inquiry and lecture methods on social studies students' performance in colleges of education, North-West Geopolitical Zone, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The fundamental goal of social studies education as a functional and qualitative curriculum design in all primary, secondary and teacher training colleges in Nigeria, is to equip learners with positive knowledge, attitudes, values and adaptive interactive skills for the purpose of producing a competent, humane and effective citizenry who can contribute positively to the good of society (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). Unfortunately, recent happenings in the country today easily reveal to us that the subject has not indeed achieved its goal. For example, the incessant killings by the boko haram in the Northern part of the country, ritual killings in many parts of the country, the increase in cult activities especially among youths in tertiary institutions, the problems of ethnic militia groups, the increasing threat of secession by different ethnic groups in the country and the rapid increase in youth involvement in crimes such as bribery, corruption in work places and armed robbery are all indicative of the inability of social studies to achieve citizenship education goals. Although the national policy on education accepted social studies education as a curriculum design for inculcating norms and values of active
citizenship amongst learners in our schools, most of the empirical studies (Latt, 1999; Akims, 2003; Shingummi, 2002; Ololobou, 2009) and data available in this direction have demonstrated that students' performances in the three domains of social studies are deplorable and below expectation. The students are rich in knowledge of social studies concepts and facts, but deficient in some expected social values, attitudes and behaviors that characterize socially responsible citizens. In view of the foregoing, it has become necessary to seek strategies that will employ approaches that could ensure and enhance better performances of students in the domains of social studies. Thus, this study attempts to determine the extent to which two different instructional methods (guided inquiry and guided lecture methods) influence students' academic performance and attitudes towards social studies.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are to:
i. determine the effects on performance of students taught using inquiry and lecture methods.
ii. compare the performance of students in the experimental groups with those of the control groups.
iii. determine the effect of gender on the performance of students when taught using inquiry and lecture methods of instruction.
iv. ascertain the extent to which inquiry and lecture methods influence attitudes towards social studies.
v. ascertain the difference in the attitude of students in the experimental groups with those of the control groups.
1.4 Research Questions
The following are the research questions that would guide the investigation:
i. What is the difference in the performance of students taught using inquiry and lecture methods?
ii. How do the performances of students in the experimental groups differ from those of the control groups?
iii. How do the performances of male students differ from those of female students when taught using inquiry and lecture methods of instruction?
iv. How do inquiry and lecture methods influence students' attitude towards social studies?
v. What is the difference in the attitude of students in the experimental groups as compared with those of the control groups?
The following research hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance:
i. There is no significant difference in the performance of students taught using inquiry and lecture methods.
ii. There is no significant difference in the performance of students in the experimental groups as compared with those of the control groups.
iii. Gender has no significant effect on the performance of students when taught using inquiry method and lecture method.
iv. Inquiry method and lecture method have no significant influence on students' attitude towards social studies.
v. There is no significant difference in the attitude of students in the experimental groups as compared with those of the control groups.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
The study is based on the assumptions that:
i. schools to be used for this study are representative of colleges of education in Nigeria where the study was carried out.
ii. inquiry and lecture methods of instruction are appropriate for teaching the topics selected (POP/FLE, Globalization, Modernization, and Culture).
iii. selected topics are appropriate for the class (NCE 3) used in the study as it is stated in the NCE Minimum Standards.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study shall be of benefit to curriculum planners who will be equipped with first-hand information on the instructional method likely to influence better performance in the cognitive and affective domains of social studies. The curriculum planners can use the findings of this study for teacher training programs, syllabus design, improvement of teaching methods and instructional material utilization.
Social studies lecturers would also find the results of this study useful as it could help increase their level of awareness and understanding of some of the issues surrounding the use of inquiry and lecture methods of instruction. The study has revealed a teaching/learning strategy that could be adopted by teachers so that students in their
classes will benefit maximally. The findings of the study could also provide a framework for organizing seminars and workshops for social studies teachers to update their knowledge of innovative pedagogy. Most importantly, the findings of the study would also justify the use of inquiry and lecture methods in teaching some particular concepts of social studies.
The study would also be of benefit to students as they would have the opportunity to access current information from a critically reviewed and synthesized literature on social studies instructional methods. Social studies students in colleges of education can use the findings of this study as a useful reference point to subsequent research works.
Heads of Social studies departments in colleges of education will benefit from the findings of this study as it would provide empirical data that will facilitate appropriate curricular policies and programmes for effective teaching and learning of social studies thereby influencing curriculum innovation programmes in social studies. Of importance in this study is the effect of inquiry and lecture methods on the performance of male and female students taught using both instructional strategies. Thus, the findings from this study would shed light on the instructional strategy that is suitable for both sexes.
Lastly, the findings of this study could contribute to the existing literature on social studies teaching methods.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The main focus of this research work is to investigate the effect of inquiry and lecture methods of instruction on students’ performance in social studies in Colleges of
Education in North-West Geopolitical zone in Nigeria. Thus, this research work is delimited to all the colleges of education in northwest zone of Nigeria offering NCCE accredited social studies programmes. The participants of the study are restricted to students of colleges of education offering NCE social studies as single or double major specializations. Lastly, the conceptual scope of this research work is delimited to the inquiry and lecture methods of teaching social studies.
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